San Antonio Child Support Attorney

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San Antonio child support attorney, Jennifer Espronceda, helps San Antonio families establish, enforce, and modify child support payments that respect current financial circumstances while still maintaining a focus on what’s best for the children.

How a Child Support Attorney Can Help

The Texas Attorney General’s office is tasked with helping enforce child support payment orders. While they have many helpful resources, their job is simply to enforce what’s already been ordered. They cannot, and will not, advocate for modifications or adjustments, which often leaves parents struggling to find real solutions.

A child support attorney can serve as a true advocate. Our goal is to:

• Negotiate payments and modifications that are fair to everyone involved

• Find practical, creative solutions to child support disputes

• Deliver individualized service and support that’s unique to your needs

• Provide expert legal advice and representation throughout the entire process

Family law is complex, and child support matters often overlap with other issues. A child support lawyer also gives you the added benefit of understanding how the law applies to all your family and financial matters, so you get full support and better outcomes.

How Child Support Is Calculated in Texas

In Texas, child support payments are calculated based on legal guidelines and set formulas. You can use the Texas Attorney General’s monthly child support calculator as a guide to understand what compensation you are entitled to. Although the entirety of Texas law is complex, there are basics factors to consider.

Basic Factors For Calculation:

• The courts can order either parent or both, to provide financial support to a child, even if their parental rights have been terminated.

• Financial support must be provided until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school unless the child is medically dependent.

• The courts can order periodic, lump, or annual payments, or any combination of the three.

• The courts can order payments to be made automatically through the withholding of income.

• Any parent paying child support is known as the “obligor.”

 

The Child Support Calculation Formula:

Actual child support payment amounts are calculated based on the obligor’s net income and the number of children being supported.

Net income is calculated by taking the obligor’s monthly income and subtracting:

• Social security taxes.

• Federal income taxes.

• Health insurance coverage for the children (if it’s being withheld from the obligor’s paychecks).

• Union dues (if they’re being withheld from the obligor’s paychecks).

Once the net income is calculated, a percentage will be applied based on the number of children being supported.

1 Child = 20%

2 Children = 25%

3 Children = 30%

4 Children = 35%

5 Children = 40%

6+ Children = Not less than the amount for five children

For example, if your net monthly income, after deductions, is $2,300 and you have two children to pay child support for, your child support payments will be 25% of $2,300, or $575.

Ultimately, the courts have the authority to establish child support payment amounts, but these guidelines and calculations are generally followed.

Child Support Modifications in Texas

Child support payments are not set in stone and can often be modified if financial, living, or family circumstances change. The Texas Attorney General’s site outlines the child support modification process and how to qualify for a modification.

If the order was established or last modified more than three years ago, you may be eligible for a review of your payment plan. Much can change in three years, and it never hurts to get an order reviewed to see if an adjustment can be made.

The current amount of the child support payments would change by 20% or $100 based on the child support guidelines. For example, let’s say that your monthly income was $3,600 when the order was set, and you were paying $1,080 in child support for three children. However, you were recently laid off and had to take a position with a substantially lower salary of $2,800 a month. Based on the standard child support calculations, this would lower your child support payments by several hundred dollars, making you eligible for a review and possible modification.

Criteria For Modification Changes:

Finally, if some other material or substantial change has occurred since the child support order was last established, you may be eligible for a review of your payments. A material or substantial change can be:

• The noncustodial parent is now legally responsible for additional children

• The children’s medical insurance coverage has changed

• The children are now living with a different parent

• The noncustodial parent’s income has increased or decreased

It’s important to understand that a modification does not necessarily mean that your child support payments will decrease. If your health insurance coverage becomes more affordable or your income increases, for example, your child support payments may increase. An attorney can help ensure that the payment increase is financially reasonable and provides for the children’s needs.

Child support order modifications can happen in one of the following two ways:

• The Child Support Review Process (CSRP), otherwise known as an in-office negotiation

• A court hearing

Typically, a CSRP is scheduled first so both parents can meet and attempt to negotiate modification terms that they agree to. If a mutual agreement can’t be made, a court hearing will be scheduled, and a judge will issue a new order.

In either case, a San Antonio child support attorney can be present to represent you, speak on your behalf, and help you negotiate fair terms.

FAQs About Child Support Modifications in Texas

Q: What if a parent fails to pay child support?

A: Texas does not take unpaid child support payments lightly. In fact, Texas enforces and collects more child support payments than any other state. Failure to pay child support may result in withheld earnings, withheld tax returns, suspension of drivers’ license, freezing of bank accounts, and even jail time.

Q: What is the Federal Parent Locator Service?

A: The FPLS is an arm of the federal government’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. It helps track noncustodial parents across state lines so child support payments can be enforced, even under difficult circumstances.

Q: Are child support orders still in effect after the child turns 18?

A: Once a child turns 18, they are considered a legal adult and child support payments will no longer be ordered. However, if the noncustodial parent owes backpay for past payments, they will still have to make those payments until they’re caught up.

Q: Can visitation be denied if child support payments are not made?

A: The focus of family law is to do what’s best for the child, so financial support and visitation rights are two separate issues. If a noncustodial parent fails to make timely child support parents, they may still retain their right to visit their children.

Q: How can I enforce child support payments from a parent who is not paying?

A: It is possible to enforce child support payments, but it is often a tedious process, and sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error. Your first step, if possible, should be to try and negotiate new terms with the other parent. Sometimes, failure to pay is simply a matter of financial circumstances. However, if negotiations and cooperation are not possible, you should seek the advice of a local child support attorney.

Child support and family law should always be about what’s best for the children, but parents’ financial circumstances are important as well. Jennifer Espronceda can help you enforce, modify, and negotiate child support payments that work best for everyone involved.